Feb 01, 2018

'Pressurising candidates could face 7-yr ban'

“Those found guilty of causing undue pressure or influence before a court of law will lose their voting right for seven years.

If the person deemed guilty of this crime is a candidate, he would be stripped of his/her seat even if they had won the election, said Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara, at a press briefing in Colombo today (01).

Police have discovered a new form of election violation where voters polling cards and IDs are being obtained for money by a certain group, in a bid to prevent certain candidates from receiving these votes.

Gunasekara said official polling cards and IDs are being gathered by paying these people money. “Our initial investigations have revealed that certain parties are doing collecting these IDs in this manner in order to prevent a certain party or independent group from getting these votes. We have issued clear instructions to all police stations that under the instructions of the elections ordinance it is an offence to cause undue pressure or influence. It is an offence to influence anyone to obtain a vote or influence or pressure anyone against giving his/her vote to the party or independent group he/she desires. These are both offences according to the election laws.”

In such instances the will obtain the approval of the Attorney General and file charges against such individuals or groups irrespective of who they are, he said. Further, it is illegal for a person to hold the ID of another person and the police will strictly enforce the law irrespective of who they are, if they are found guilty,” The Police Media Spokesman said.

He also noted that if any candidate is found to have a criminal record then he would be disqualified, according to the election rules and regulations.